Volume 1169, Issue 1 p. 182-186

The Effects of Musical Training on Structural Brain Development

A Longitudinal Study

Krista L. Hyde

Krista L. Hyde

Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Jason Lerch

Jason Lerch

Mouse Imaging Centre, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Andrea Norton

Andrea Norton

Department of Neurology, Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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Marie Forgeard

Marie Forgeard

Department of Neurology, Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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Ellen Winner

Ellen Winner

Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA

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Alan C. Evans

Alan C. Evans

Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Gottfried Schlaug

Gottfried Schlaug

Department of Neurology, Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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First published: 24 July 2009
Citations: 119
Addresses for correspondence: Krista L. Hyde, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2B4, Canada. [email protected] and Gottfried Schlaug, Department of Neurology, Music and Neuroimaging Lab, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. [email protected]

Abstract

Long-term instrumental music training is an intense, multisensory and motor experience that offers an ideal opportunity to study structural brain plasticity in the developing brain in correlation with behavioral changes induced by training. Here, for the first time, we demonstrate structural brain changes after only 15 months of musical training in early childhood, which were correlated with improvements in musically relevant motor and auditory skills. These findings shed light on brain plasticity, and suggest that structural brain differences in adult experts (whether musicians or experts in other areas) are likely due to training-induced brain plasticity.